Season 2, Episode 3
Air date October 01, 2009
Written by David Wilcox
Directed by Bryan Spicer
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Cast | Transcript

"Fracture" is the third episode of the second season of Fringe.


Peter, Walter, Olivia and Broyles pursue a strange and deadly occurrence in Philadelphia where a bomb blew up inside a train station but left no trace of any explosive device. The perplexing and unexplained set of circumstances returns Walter to the lab to closely examine the human remains where he uncovers an unlikely energy source that triggered the explosion. With the explosive threat of more bombs and links to a classified military project, the intense investigation leads Olivia and Peter to Iraq.


In Philadelphia, Officer Dan Gillespe, an on-duty cop, gets a call from a man he calls "Colonel" to pick up a briefcase at a nearby train station. As he does so, a nearby pulse causes electronics to gain static, and his body becomes hardened. He explodes, killing eleven people and injuring others with his hardened body parts. Initially thinking the explosion was caused by a bomb, the Fringe team arrives to investigate, and discover that instead of a bomb, the cop's body parts killed the others. A further autopsy reveals needle marks between the cop's toes, and they realize he was injecting some type of drug every day for at least a year.

While Peter Bishop and Olivia Dunham interview his wife Susan Gillespe, she gets sick with flashes of crossing to the Alternate Universe and accidentally discovers the drugs the cop was injecting himself with. The cop had served in Iraq a year previously, and was involved in a secret military experiment called "Project Tin Man". Peter tells them they can discover the project's doctors, and he and Olivia travel to Iraq. Peter learns from Ahmed, an old acquaintance, the identity of one of the Iraqi doctors Malik Yusef, who then tells them the project was meant to cure soldiers exposed to a fatal chemical, but it mostly failed to work, and turned remaining survivors into human bombs. A colonel now AWOL, Raymond Gordon was opposed to the project shutting down, and Peter and Olivia suspect he is behind the cop's explosion, and caused the deaths by emitting a radio signal. They find a list of names from the experiment, the victim in the train station being one of them. They return to find the surviving members and are able to prevent the next subject, Diane Burgess, from exploding after she is contacted by Gordon to take a briefcase at a train station. Peter and Olivia find Gordon at the station, and bring him into custody; the man suggests the bombs were intended to eliminate agents working for The Observer.

In a side plot, Olivia and Sam Weiss continue to meet at the bowling alley, where he subjects her to seemingly menial tasks like tying her shoes and keeping score during games. Although initially finding their conversations useless, he cures Olivia's inability to walk without a cane by the end of the episode.

Notable Quotes[]

Peter: Four words that should never show up in a sentence: "classified experimental military project."

Peter: I need my own bedroom. I woke up this morning to him singing an aria from Pagliacci.
Astrid: Your father has a wonderful voice.
Peter: Not when he's doing jumping jacks. And did I mention he was naked?
Walter: A good morning sets the tone for the day.

Astrid: Dr. Bishop, what did I tell you about experimenting with fruit? I just cleaned this lab up yesterday.

Peter: Yes, I do remember. Melissa was a playmate. Miss July, right. Putting together a jigsaw of a nude centerfold was Walter's idea of how to explain, what was it, human reproduction to his ten-year-old son.


  • The Observer is in a pub, eating one of his pepper sandwiches when one of the couriers targeted by Tin Man delivers a briefcase to him.
  • The X-Files connections: Raymond Gordon is played by Stephen McHattie, who portrayed the recurring Syndicate character the Red-Haired Man in a 2 episode arc on The X-FilesThis marks the third consecutive instance in which an actor who worked on The X-Files has a role in a Fringe episode.
  • Although credited, Blair Brown (Nina Sharp) and Kirk Acevedo (Charlie Francis) do not appear in this episode.
  • During Gordon's interrogation with Broyles, it is possible that Gordon could be referencing the Observer takeover in 2036 (Letters of Transit)
  • The tie-in comic story Gene's Dream from the Tales from the Fringe series implies that officer Dan Gillespe could still come back to life if his pieces were put together.


  • The Fringe team are based in Boston, where they learn about the explosion in Philadelphia via an FBI web posting. Even if they flew (and the episode gives no indication they did) it would have still taken several hours at least before they could arrive at the explosion site, yet not only does it appear the crime scene investigation has just begun, the bodies haven't even been moved yet.
  • As Dunham stands to brief the room regarding Burgess while seated, pushes herself out from her desk with her cane facing one way, then pushes herself up with the cane having switched to the opposite angle when the shot changes.
  • The location in Philadelphia is identified as Suburban Station with one of the overhead announcements calling the arrival of a train heading to Florida. The station shown is above ground, while Suburban Station is actually located below ground. Also, Suburban Station would never announce a train heading outside the local area as Amtrak trains have no connections there. That station is for local transit only. The station that would have worked as the setting depicted in this episode would have been 30th Street Station.


  • "Blue Bayou" by Roy Orbison
  • "Jazz Me Blues" by Les Paul
  • "The Air That I Breathe" by The Hollies
  • "Can't You See?" by The Marshall Tucker Band


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